Paul Fry, ed.
2013, $9.95, print magazine
Reviewed by Aaron J. French
I first encountered SST Publications with their release of film director Eric Red’s debut novel, Don’t Stand So Close. That book is a great read, and so when I heard SST was planning on publishing a print magazine called Tales of Obscenity, I became interested. Paul Fry, owner of SST and editor of the acclaimed Peep Show series, would also serve as Editor-in-Chief for Tales of Obscenity.
From SST’s website: “The magazine will focus on publishing a wide range of horror stories (from the mild to the extreme) and also include one of our favorite genres, erotic horror. Our aim is to publish three times per year, approx. every four months, and gradually increase over time to publish more issues more regularly.”
The premier issue is finally out, and not only does it live up to its name in terms of being obscene, in addition to the print edition SST is offering limited edition, fully illustrated hardcovers for an unbeatable price. Check the SST Publications website for details about these hardcovers, and about subscribing.
I have to say I was wholly impressed upon opening up the mail packaging. Paul Fry has been in this business for a while, and his experience shows. The magazine uses the same printing format as our own Dark Discoveries, and so all you DD subscribers out there will know that DD is a now a beautiful, full-color magazine, and Tales of Obscenity offers a similar presentation. In fact, I would go so far as to say that anyone who is a fan of DD will not be disappointed with Tales of Obscenity, and I recommend picking up subscriptions to both these fine publications.
Of course there is one big difference between DD and Tales of Obscenity, being obvious in the titles—and yes, according to Fry’s editorial, “[these stories] are not for the faint of heart. I’ve tried to include some milder horror stories that are quite tame to give the mag varied content…. But, please remember that there are a lot of nasty tales in the mag, so it’s a strictly for adults only publication.”
And Tales of Obscenity lives up to its name. A lot of the content crosses boundaries that DD rarely crosses (except with the extreme horror themed issue #19 and so forth). So does some of the artwork in Tales of Obscenity. If extreme horror isn’t your thing, you might not appreciate the entire issue, but I’m confident that most horror fans will enjoy something of the selection of stories.
Going back to the artwork, that is definitely one of the highpoints of the issue. Great stuff from David Ho (including a gallery of his work), Alan M. Clark, and Daniele Serra. The layout, ads, and illustrations all work together complementarily, offering a colorful reading experience.
As for stories, they range from intensely extreme and graphic, such as “In Remembrance” by Jennifer Loring, to the more psychological like “Obsession” by Jeremy Terry, to fantastically horrifying tales such as John Everson’s “Sacrificing Virgins.” All, however, are highly sexed, so expect a good dose of eroticism mixed with violence. Other fine contributions come from Christopher Fulbright, J. F. Gonzalez, Ty Schwamberger, and Angeline Hawkes. Also included are some book reviews, an interview with John Everson and Ty Schwamberger, and an article on sex in horror.
I enjoyed this magazine all the way through, but my favorite stories come from John Everson, Angeline Hawkes, and Christopher Fulbright. And while I’m not typically a big reader of erotic or extreme horror, I am a big reader of high quality fiction that pushes the limits. Based on this excellent first issue of Tales of Obscenity, I’m expecting some great work from Fry and SST Publications in the future. But endeavors such as this require reader support to survive, and sadly there are becoming less of them these days. So why not pick up a subscription for Tales of Obscenity and help keep it around? I promise you won’t be disappointed, and you’ll even receive some shocking, arousing, emotional, and horrifying experiences along the way. What more could you want for your money’s worth?